Live pines and spruces come with baggage.
Add a few pets and you’ve got pandemonium.
The REAL question, dearest Shakespeare, is this:


Tradition calls for a live pine tree,
even one that’s severely crooked
or harboring dormant spider eggs
or shoved through your front door
by a charitable neighbor who refuses
to let the Grinch steal Christmas

The firry beast is more wide than tall,
flatly refuses to stand up straight,
and sucks down drinks by the pitcher
Pyromaniac can turn two dry needles
and a half-watt bulb into a house fire
if you leave him alone for an hour

The mesmerized cat toys with shiny
low-hanging baubles and freaks out
at his own reflection, entangling himself
in the tree skirt as he flees the scene
Then he turns a footlong strand of tinsel
into sparkle-poo he cannot quite shake

The dog is eager to come to his aid
in a canine sugarplum fantasy-come-true
He sniffs and pursues the trailing treat,
sending the cat scurrying up the trunk,
bending the Star of the East due west
The tree leans past the point of no return

And… over… she… goes… TIMBER!
The cat escapes before the crash landing
The guilty-faced dog hangs his head,
enduring a scolding as the tree is righted
When the coast is clear, he helps himself
to half the fresh water in the tree stand

The vacuum cleaner arrives on scene
The dog’s eyeballs float in their sockets
but his desperate pleas cannot be heard
over the clatter and hum of the machine
After it departs, the tree’s alluring trunk
becomes the target of his lifted leg

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  1. Tippy Gnu December 9, 2018 / 11:50 am

    We have a small, fake tree. Too bad. Looks like we’re missing all the fun you’re having with your large, genuine fir.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan December 9, 2018 / 4:56 pm

      Oh no, Tippy, this poem is strictly reminiscing about our past experiences with trees and pets. We haven’t had a big real tree since 1998, when our Black Lab puppy lifted his leg on the trunk; we’d endured a decade of cat chaos, but that gleeful whiz was the last straw. Nowadays, I put up the little Charlie Brown tree I bought at Walgreens, or decorate my potted lime tree with a strand of LED lights. I put most of my decorating energy into setting up the life-sized nativity scene in the front yard and shaking sprinkles on sugar cookies. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tippy Gnu December 9, 2018 / 10:00 pm

        Yeah, that’s kind of how we do. Christmas lite. But I like the idea of sugar cookies.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan December 11, 2018 / 6:09 pm

      Thanks, Muri. Real trees are fragrant and pretty, but a pain in the butt. Our first year together we were broke, so we rescued a houseplant someone had set by the dumpster and wrapped it in mini-lights. For the next nine years, we picked a tree at the corner lot or bought one from the Boy Scouts or somebody gave us one. Then we decorated it and did our best to keep the pets from climbing, tipping, breaking ornaments, eating tinsel, etc. At last, we came to our senses and stopped killing trees and setting ourselves up for disaster. Pets add humor to the holidays though. A few Christmases ago, we returned home to find our outdoor kitty Ginger asleep in the manger, having shoved poor Baby Jesus aside. 🙂


  2. pranabaxom December 11, 2018 / 11:26 pm

    Joan, this is funny. Had a good laugh.
    We have an artificial tree for quite long time. First XMas after we had our dog Skooby I was afraid that he may answer the question ” To pee or not to pee” to my obvious nightmare. Thank God he always gives the tree a wide berth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan December 13, 2018 / 9:33 am

      Thanks, PB. Dog and cat antics keep us amused in every season. Our girl dog never whizzed on the Christmas tree, but boys are different. Our male Lab puppy had always squatted to pee, like his sister. The “Christmas Tree Incident” was the first time he ever lifted his leg. Merry Christmas to you and yours, including Skooby. I hope he gets some Skooby Snacks in his stocking. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • pranabaxom December 13, 2018 / 9:49 am

        Skooby squats and lifts his leg also but never did he done it at home (except a few times when he was sick).

        Liked by 1 person

  3. L. T. Garvin, Author December 17, 2018 / 1:11 pm

    This is surely a predicament many pet people have faced at one time or another. I’ve never had an issue with a dog, but oh those pesky cats! So funny, Joan. These days I have what I call a Dr. Seuss tree that is skinny and blue and collapses until it is ready to pop up for the next Xmas, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan December 17, 2018 / 2:45 pm

      Thanks, Lana. The cats are worse, but the dogs egg them on. A blue tree that pops up, you say? Sounds like a freebie our friendly neighborhood Viagra rep would have distributed at the office where I worked. Happy Holidays! 🙂


  4. circumstance227 February 23, 2019 / 5:28 pm

    We had a Cat and Christmas Tree incident years ago when the girls were young. The tree went up on the 23rd and the room was blocked off and the girls forbidden to go in there. Around noon on the 24th we heard a REALLY loud crashing sound coming from the forbidden room . . . I can’t remember what lie we told to explain the noise and reassure them that, no, Santa didn’t have an accident. No, Santa wasn’t dead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan February 23, 2019 / 5:44 pm

      Oh, the tangled webs we weave! Was it Devil Cat that “killed Santa”? 🙂


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